Attention all VPTA members:
The VPTA has been vigilantly monitoring the situation surrounding COVID-19 as this is unprecedent times we are all experiencing. In this time of uncertainty, we will continue to monitor the developments around the spread of coronavirus. As with all public health situations, VPTA relies primarily on the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General for the best information and preventive strategies. We refer you to the following resources to assist in better understanding of best prevention practices regarding physical therapy and your workplace. , the
For those in private practice. We also wanted to make sure you knew about the following:
Paycheck Protetction Program
The Small Business Administration has opened its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) on Friday, April 3, to assist with small business relief. SBA expects many small businesses to apply, so eligible small businesses should reach out to their banks and begin preparing their applications ASAP to attempt to avoid long waits and processing periods as applications start to pile up.
The Small Business Administration has provided an FAQs on this program (beginning on page 5).
Furthermore, the Private Practice Section also has dedicated a hub regarding content knowledge on advocacy, legislation, telehealth, business operation, and human resources to help direct and guide you and your practices.
Whatever happens over the next few weeks, stay calm and follow the facts. Encourage calm in your workplaces – but be prepared!
Finally, wash your hands and DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE!
Ron Masri, PT, DPT, OCS, ATC, FAAOMPT
Virginia Physical Therapy Association
Payor and Practice Relations Chair
Q: Why did I get a sum of money from HHS?
A: A $30 billion emergency relief package began rolling out on April 10, making direct deposits into provider and facility accounts based on 2019 Medicare billing. Read more.
Q: What is the role of the PT/PTA during the response phase of COVID-19?
A: The FSBPT has issued this document in response to the many questions they are getting and may help regulators when addressing these questions.
Q: Is physical therapy considered essential or non-essential?
A: As of March 19, 2020 the short answer is essential. Read more.
Q: Should I keep my clinic open? Should I continue practicing?
A: The best choice (if there is one) for each clinic and clinician, ultimately, is going to vary by patient population and the providers’ best professional judgment. One of APTA’s resources, APTA Statement on Patient Care and Practice Management During COVID-19 Outbreak, reiterates this perspective.
Q: How does the CARES Act benefit PT/PTA/Students?
A: Please read APTA's Information Bulletin that was released on March 28.
Q: Can I perform E-Visits in Virginia?
A: E-visits are for Medicare (nationally regulated, so it is allowed in VA). Otherwise, it is a payer by payer policy for whether telehealth in any form is allowed, how it will be paid, and how it needs to be documented.
Q: What is an E-Visit?
A: In its 2020 physician fee schedule final rule, CMS describes e-visits as “non face-to-face patient-initiated digital communications that require a clinical decision that otherwise typically would have been provided in the office.” The code descriptors for the HCPSC codes related to e-visits suggest that the codes are intended to cover short-term (up to seven days) assessments and management activities that are conducted online or via some other digital platform and include any associated clinical decision-making.
Q: Is an e-visit a telehealth service?
A:No. An e-visit is considered a service furnished remotely using technology but is not considered a Medicare telehealth service. Under Medicare physical therapists are still not recognized as telehealth providers. An e-visit does not constitute telehealth under the Medicare definition. Under commercial payer policies, the answer varies, so check with your payer.
Q: Can I perform Telehealth?
A: Please reference Health and Human Resources webpage. A relevant excpert: During the COVID-19 national emergency, which also constitutes a nationwide public health emergency, covered health care providers subject to the HIPAA Rules may seek to communicate with patients, and provide telehealth services, through remote communications technologies. Some of these technologies, and the manner in which they are used by HIPAA covered health care providers, may not fully comply with the requirements of the HIPAA Rules. OCR will exercise its enforcement discretion and will not impose penalties for noncompliance with the regulatory requirements under the HIPAA Rules against covered health care providers in connection with the good faith provision of telehealth during the COVID-19 nationwide public health emergency. This notification is effective immediately.
UPDATE 3.31.20: Anthem Re: Telehealth
UPDATE 5.1.2020: CMS will allow PTAs and OTAs to perform maintenance therapy services under Medicare Part B for the duration of the public health emergency. CMS states it will permit the PT or OT who established the maintenance program to delegate the performance of maintenance therapy services to a PTA or OTA when clinically appropriate.
UPDATE 5.6.2020: Telehealth is outpatient only AND PTA can perform telehealth if a PT is overseeing.
Q. Tell me more about the "Blanket Waiver" system that is now in effect.
A: UPDATE 5.1.2020: CMS now recognizes physical therapists as eligible to furnish and bill for Medicare telehealth services for the duration of the public health emergency. This change is retroactive to March 1. "...This allows health care professionals who were previously ineligible to furnish and bill for Medicare telehealth services, including physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language pathologists, and others, to receive payment for Medicare telehealth services.” Read more.
UPDATE 5.6.2020: PTA can provide Maintence Services. Read more.
Q: I'm a student/educator. What does this mean for me?
A: CAPTE released this statement on March 20, 2020.
Q: Will there be any waivers for CEU requirements for license renewal?
A: The PT Licensure Board has the authority over license renewals. They can be reached at 804-367-4674.
Q: What exactly do Gov. Northam's Executive Orders say?
A: Executive Order 53 Executive Order 55
Q: What are the phases of reopening?
A: See here.
Q: Can I reuse my face mask?
A. Please look to the CDC for guidance on this. You can find information specifically about facemasks here and other PPE and equipment here.